Ernie Johnson impresses Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley on NBAonTNT by accurately guessing random hip-hop songs.
Turner Sports made the right call 32 years ago to bring Ernie Johnson on board. ‘EJ’ has been hosting NBAonTNT ever since signing on with Turner in 1990 and has had a slew of NBA legends join him on TV, with guys like Chris Webber, Reggie Miller, Penny Hardaway and more coming on set to talk hoops.
However, the current iteration of the ‘Inside the NBA’ cast with Ernie Johnson manning the wheel, surrounded by Kenny ‘The Jet’ Smith, Shaquille O’Neal, and of course, Charles Barkley, has become the most famous and beloved 4-some on air.
Ernie has almost always played the moderator role during the Inside the NBA segments, letting Shaq and Charles Barkley go at one another on various topics.
Despite him not getting into ‘bombastic’ arguments like the two NBA legends, he’s continued to be perhaps the most significant mainstay on the show.
Ernie Johnson has more ‘street cred’ than most, according to Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith.
It’s a known fact that Ernie Johnson is well-versed when it comes to hip-hop culture. It’s evident by the way that Johnson almost always nails every handshake he’s ever had that he’s cool with nearly everybody he comes in contact with in the NBA world.
“I forgot you were black Ernie,” said Shaq during one particular segment on NBAonTNT. Another example of this is during the 2020 Bubble Playoffs where Shaq and the rest of the crew challenged EJ to guess the songs that were playing in the background, which he obviously got right.
Everybody from Rick Ross to Travis Scott got a shoutout from the man in the middle on Inside the NBA. It led to Chuck and Kenny saying, “C’mon Ernie, you’re knowing too much right now. You’ve got some street cred Ernie.”